High above the Athenian sprawl stands the Monastery of Kessariani, an unsung archaeological gem incarnating the splendour and serenity of the Byzantine times. Dating back to the 12th century AD and acclaimed for its "supernatural powers", this complex would attract the local women who made pilgrimages to the spring that flows in its courtyard, in the belief that its waters would cure childlessness. Inspired by these tales, the local monks built Roman-style Baths next to it and dedicated the church to the Presentation of the Virgin. Its nearby apiary produced honey of exquisite quality and taste, still remembered in the anecdotal tales and narratives.
Follow the trails of the Byzantine Monks to explore a haven of serenity and natural beauty on the foot of Mt Hymettus.
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Walk design credits
This walk was curated exclusively for Big Olive by Chryssa Kontogeorgopoulou, an acclaimed archaeologist and PhD holder in Byzantinology at the University of Athens and state-licensed guide.
"Here lies the sky and a beaming sun all over
And around this place the honey of Mt Hymettus
Unwithered lillies by the marbles hover
as Penteli shines while bearing Olympus"
- K. Palamas, Homelands
Main image: K. Maleas [1879-1928], "Monastery of Kessariani"